Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Being "Crunchy"

At one point I promised I would come back and describe the term "crunchy" because I consider myself a crunchy parent. Not WAY crunchy, maybe slightly crispy :)

Anyway, from what I can gather, the term crunchy comes from, its related to granola, and people who would make their own granola. Nevertheless, I can't really find one, good, strong, definition of "crunchy".

And I'm not going to pretend like I am the know-it-all of crunchiness, nor am I the exemplary crunchy mama.

I've found this survey and thought it would help describe "crunchy"...my scores are highlighted.

1. Do you have homebirths?
20 points for “yes” (unassisted)
15 points for “yes” (midwife in attendance)
10 points for natural childbirth in an alternative birthing center had a natural hospital childbirth with Logan, will most likely have a birthing center birth if we have another.
5 points for natural childbirth in a hospital
2 points for “thinking about/would like homebirth or natural childbirth”
0 for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
2. How do you feel about routine (no medical indication) infant circumcision?
10 points for “believe circumcision is a human rights violation and will not do it to your
5 points for “won’t circumcise your sons, but don’t feel strongly against it”
0 points for “will circumcise your sons”
3. Do you use cloth diapers?
25 point if you do Elimination Communication (no diapers)
20 points if “yes” (wash and make your own using natural organic fabric)
15 points if “yes” (wash and make your own or purchase natural organic cloth diapers) I bought them with Logan but will make new ones as needed rather than purchase my own...although if we have a girl someday I'd probably buy a few pink bumgenious to go with the ones I already have
10 points if “yes” (wash your own)
5 points if “yes” (diaper service)
2 points if “thinking about it”
0 points if “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
4. Do you observe your fertility signals using Natural Family Planning/Fertility Awareness and use that for birth control/trying to conceive?
10 points for “yes” (observe and use for birth control and trying to conceive or just for
birth control) or you use ecological breastfeeding/lactational amenorrhea Absolutely. Its a crying shame that women aren't educated in this...I wonder how many people who hate bc pills/hormones would be ecstatic to learn about this...and its amazing how our bodies work. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I'm not the most fertile person in the world and haven't really worried about bc.
5 points for “yes” (observe for trying to conceive, but not for birth control)
2 points “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
5. Do you breastfeed exclusively for the first 6+ months?
10 points if “yes” I gave myself 10 points for this, even though I did pump and give expressed milk...its because I was working though and if not working I'd exclusively breastfeed. Plus, I'm at 14 months and going strong, so that counts for something on the crunchy meter doesn't it?
5 points for “no” (use occasional bottles of expressed breastmilk)
2 points for “no” (use occasional bottles of formula or early solids)
0 for “no” (don’t breastfeed by choice).
6. Do you co-sleep?
10 points for “yes” (all night every night) At least until about 6 months or so when Logan didn't like it anymore.
5 points for “yes” (part/all of most nights)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no”.
7. Do you use a sling/soft carrier?
5 points for “yes” and I think I should get more bonus crunchy points for making my own WRAP, not a store bought sling or carrier (although Jason has a carrier for himself).
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
8. Do you believe in/practice child-led weaning (even if that means breastfeeding for several years)?
15 points for “yes” (complete child-led weaning)
10 points for “yes” (up to 3 years)
5 points for “yes” (up to 2 years) I'm not sure about this one yet...I used to think 18 months, and I think we'll make it until then if Logan wants to, so I'm sure I'd be willing to go up to 2. I'm not sure about that, but I think that if we got passed that point I'd probably go to three...sounds weird to me at this point though.
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (you’ll wean the baby at 1 year or earlier).
9. Do you tandem nurse/nurse during your pregnancy?
10 points for “yes” (nurse during pregnancy and tandem nurse) I would be happy to, except I'm not fertile enough to have gotten pregnant and then given birth yet. So, if Logan is still nursing when I eventually get pregnant and give birth, I'd be happy to tandem nurse...see the answer above because at this point Logan will be 2 when another baby would be born.
5 points for “yes” (nurse during pregnancy, but wean before birth)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
10. Do you eat organic/whole/natural foods and limit your meat? Do you use natural cleaning products?
20 points for “yes” (grow own/buy organic, shop only at health food store, grind own
wheat, vegetarian, natural cleaning products, etc.)
15 points for “yes” (grow some of own food, buy organic, use whole wheat flour, bake
own bread, eat some organic, free-range meat occasionally, some natural cleaning
10 points for “yes” (grow some of own food, use whole wheat flour, bake own bread, eat
some meat occasionally)
5 points for “yes” (try to buy natural, whole grain foods, etc.)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
11. Do you use herbal/homeopathic remedies?
10 points if “yes” (very rarely see a regular doctor)
5 points if “yes” (but use a doctor occasionally)
2 points if “thinking about it” (see a doc for now)
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
12. Do you or will you homeschool?
10 points if “yes”.
5 points if “part time” (do a combination of private or other school some days and home
school others).
2 points for “thinking about it” Its a bit difficult for a working mom, but I'd be more than willing to do it if I am not working when Logan goes to school
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
13. What’s your take on childhood vaccinations?
15 points for no vaccines
10 for delayed, selective vaccination
5 points for selective, on schedule vaccination this is one I'm not all that big on...I didn't let them give him everything, particularly the newer stuff like the one for diarhea, but most of them we allowed.
2 points for thinking about not vaccinating
0 points for vaccinating on schedule.
14. Would you/have you ever breastfeed/fed someone else’s baby or have someone else bf your child?
10 points if “yes” (have or someone has breastfed your baby)
5 points if “yes” (would) This isn't fair...I'd be HAPPY to breastfeed someone else's baby. But, I'm not sure I'd let someone else breastfeed my baby...I guess if I couldn't. But when do you get that opportunity?
2 points if “maybe”
0 if “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
15. Do you use cloth/re-usable products for mom?
10 points if “yes” (make own cloth menstrual pads)
5 points if “yes” (buy cloth pads or the keeper)
2 points if “thinking about it”
0 points if “no”.
16. Do you use positive discipline?
15 points if “yes” (never yell, spank, punish)
10 points if “yes” (believe in it and try really hard)
5 points if “sort of” (use time out, don’t spank, and use rewards for good behavior)
2 points if “thinking about it” (use time out, spank occasionally, use rewards for good
behavior and punishments for bad)
0 points if “no” (you think spanking is needed)

Ratings120 – 205 Super Nutty, Ultra-Crunchy Granola Earth Mama105– 119 Mmm! Love that whole-grain crunch!90 – 104 Pretty Crispy30 – 89 Sprinkled with Granola10 – 29 Instant Oatmeal0 - 9 Jell-O

See... so, I'm Super Nutty...129 :) I really didn't think it would be that high but I guess I'm really nutty!!!

Now, here's the thing that I love about being crunchy...its about doing what you think is best for you and your child. Not because everyone else does it...or not because no one else does it, but because you need it and your baby needs it.

And, the other thing I love, is that crunchiness spans the political barriers. Traditionally I guess crunchiness is a liberal trend, but there is a new movement called "crunchy cons"...conservatives who are also crunchy...fits perfectly with me. Its the idea that we are conservative, but that doesn't mean we can't be concerned with being natural just because liberals are also concerned with being natural. It really isn't a political thing. It brings moms and women together for a common purpose...baby centered mothering.

Hmmm...what else to say about crunchiness. It often (though not always) goes hand-in-hand with attachment parenting, which is to say breastfeeding, baby wearing, bonding, bed sharing, positive parenting, and responsiveness to the baby's cries. THis precludes "crying it out" and similar training methods. Of course, you do whatever of these makes sense for you and your baby.

One thing that wasn't in here was the idea of making your own baby food. I guess its implied in #10? Logan has NEVER had ANY kind of baby food, except, I guess, for those puff things. From the day he started eating "solid" food he was eating "real" food that we prepared for him. Honestly, its not that big of a deal...you just smash up the fruit or vegetable you are eating and give him some. Or, puree if you can (we usually did). As ridiculous and pretentious as it sounds, the idea of store bought baby food and formula to me is frightening and gives me the chills. I don't know why...I know it is "fine" for the kids...but it isn't the best, and since this is something that is so easy to give them, why not shoot for the stars right?

Anyway, hope that helps with the label of crunchy. Any questions? comments?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Yet another reason why women need to keep themselves informed and not rely on what "others" tell them...

I am DISGUSTED!!!!!!

I came across a blog that refers to the C-section rates at different hospitals, by state. Knowing that the estimated C-section rate is over 30% this year (get that, one THIRD of all pregnancies ending with a c-section...I'm sure they were ALL necesary and therefore the safest choice for the mother and baby right?), I was curious, so I took a look at some of the hospitals I'm familiar with.


One imparticular is the hospital I was born at. (See link above) Since I was born there, they have added a "State of the art" maternity wing and are heralded by word of mouth for having the best care available. Again, I was curious on how that translated. I fully expected the C-section rate to be higher than I would like, say 5-10%, but it was24%. Sad but true.

Yet this is not what disgusted me. With its superiour word of mouth, you'd expect it to be a great place to give birth, and by great place I mean healthy for the mom and the baby, and I guess for those who are there to visit too. And people think so. It has a Superior hospital rating from those who were there.

But look at the safety factor. Yes, they have a neonatal ICU, which is great assuming that your baby is going to have (or will likely have) complications at birth, but check out the patient safety piece. They are BELOW average in appropriate use of antibiotics, only average in the appropriate timing of antibiotics, and got a POOR rating on the appropriate discontinuance of antibiotics. Now, we don't know necesarily what this means, if they are more conservative in these areas or more liberal, but you'd expect a hospital with such a great reputation to have a much more better safety factor wouldn't you?

Not necesarily, or so I've learned. The truth is that people believe what they are told. People believe that because the billboards and websites show a gleaning white facility that the doctors and nurses must absolutely know what they are doing and are providing the safest location possible to give birth. What they don't know is that infection, particularly at a hospital where people are going to because they are ill and are in desperate need of care (that is what a hospital is for, right?), well, it happens! No matter how much the facility tries to keep things sterile and safe the environment by nature will always pose a risk to patients. Particularly those patients who are new to the world and haven't built up an immune system yet.

Now for those who are in dire need of medical care because they too are sick (again, thats why you go to a hospital correct? You don't go just because everything is fine?, I don't anyway...) then the benefit theoretically outweighs the risk of infectionm, or that is the goal.

So why do perfectly healthy mothers who by all indication are giving birth to perfectly healthy babies choose to subject themselves and their babies to the conditions where they have such an increased risk for harm? Why do mostly healthy mothers who by all indication will give birth to normal babies choose to subject themselves to it?

Because thats what they are told to do. Think about it. Where did you learn to give birth/prepare yourself for birth/be preganant? Probably from everyone around you. You saw that people go to an OB (that is the most common method of receiving pre-natal care), so you expect that when you get pregnant, regardless of your health/previous experience/etc. you too will go to an OB. But the truth is that OB's are trained surgeons, trained to diagnose illness and hardships. Again, this sounds great, until you learn that there are simple things you can do on your own to preven those illnesses and hardships that your OB will never tell you about. For example. Have you ever heard of preeclampsia (SP?) . I should probably do the research on this again, but when I did before it showed that if you eat 80-100 grams of protein each day the risk of developing pre-eclampsia drops to virtually none. Crazy huh? Bet your OB didn't teach you that one! Instead, they are trained to watch your "symptoms" throughout your pregancy and wait for the inevitable blood pressure increase and weight gain until you develop the condition, and they act according to what they've been trained to do....operate. Take that baby out. Afterall, at that point the only thing you can do to stop the preeclampsia is to deliver the baby. Ok, so maybe they induce if they think you and the baby are up to it, but the point is that *its possible* none of that would have to happen if you had a bit of preventative care you should have received in the first place. (edited to add "its possible"...I don't mean to indicate that ALL cases of preeclampsia will be avoided with diet)

See, in the past, learning from others was a good thing. We learned from our mothers, our grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and other strong women on how to be a healthy pregnant mommy and give birth to healthy strong babies. 100 years ago, 200 years ago...for however long women have been giving birth they've done so and managed to continue population growth without a 30% c-section rate. They did preventative stuff, like walk a lot and rest a lot. They learned to move around during labor and give birth in a variety of positions that let mother nature (gravity) help. They learned that birth is messy and hard work and that you needed your energy to do it so you needed to eat as you saw fit and drink plenty of water. They learned that sometimes babies take a long time to cook, some shorter, but the baby will come when its ready. They learned that you needed the support of your family, those thtat have gone before you, your mother, your sisters, etc. And, they learned that birth isn't always successful. So they tried new things, and experimented and found other new things to help with successful births.

And somehow we've gotten to the point where it is today, where mothers and doctors for no other reason than the desire to have a perfect schedule decide to poke and prod at a mother and baby, forcing the contractions to start when the baby wasn't quite ready, ripping a hole in the protection the baby needs to stay alive and infection free, give the mother somtehing to help with the pain caused by all the equipment and meds she's been hooked up to which will make her crash as soon as the baby is born rather than nurse like the baby will naturally want to do for bonding, comfort, health, etc...and then when this all doesn't work because the baby doesn't come fast enough to fit that tight schedule and the baby is starting to become "stressed" and is now in danger (but wasn't just a few hours ago when all was fine and dandy in the untouched womb) the doctors rush mommy to the operating room, hopefully daddy can get ready in time, where she has little to no involvement in the birth of her baby, she can't see it, she can only feel pressure where people are doing something that just isn't "natural", and hopefully she will be able to get a quick glimpse as the doctor throws the baby in the air over the curtain and says "Say hi to your baby" like its a new puppy, then rushes him/her off to the NICU because the baby isn't breathing quite right and is sluggishly responding and, maybe there is a problem with the lungs.

And its all completely "normal"...afterall...birth is a dangerous, complicated procedure where skilled physicians must monitor the mother and baby at all times to ensure a healthy, delivery (like the one described above).

Outrageious? Not so much. Start looking around and listening to the birth stories your friends are telling you. Its all the same..."we went in for an induction...the baby wasn't responding...the baby's heart rate was elevated (or dropping)....failure to progress...c-section..." at least for 1/3 of the birthing population this year.

This isn't to say that ALL c-sections are unnecesary or preventable, or that the mothers would rather sacrifice the health of their babies for their comfort and ease of scheduling. Some mothers need c-sections for valid reasons (and everyone has a different definition of what a valid reason is). What is clear is that some of them could have been prevented if they only knew...if they only knew what they were really capable of rather than listening to the limitations others place on them.

Maya Angelou said (not a direct quote, or maybe it is, I don't know) "I did what I knew to do...when I knew better I did better". When are we as a society of women going to get together and "know better"...not in the scientific way of measuring facts and figures and misusing statistics to bring a lawsuit blaming someone else for the injury to our children (or ourselves) at birth, but in a way that we will know what truly is normal, healthy pregnancy and birth and that we will encourage each other to do what is truly best and make it through a healthy "normal" delivery that involves little to no mechanical interventions, few strangers, and lots of love and attention, true CARE for the mother and baby (and rest of the family)? When are we going to stop listening to the noise coming at us from all directions and listen to what God intended this to be?

Check out some links for some other hospitals:

Near the one above:

In the DFW area:

Friday, November 16, 2007

A little survey about me

A little more about me...

1. What is your occupation? Wife, Mother, "Training Relationships Manager", and student. In that order.
2. What color are your socks right now? blue
3. What are you listening to right now? someone on the phone and construction work outside the building.
4. What is the last thing you ate? Landry's...herb crusted chicken sandwich...oh, and the life saver I just had.
5. Can you drive a stick shift? No...its a tragedy really.

6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Brick red

7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? A coworker

8. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Yep
9. Favorite drink? (You should see the look on my face right now trying to answer this...picture puzzled and inquisitive). I love cranberry juice and ice. Sonic style.
10. Favorite sport to watch? basketball I guess
11. Have you ever dyed your hair? uh yes...which reminds me...maybe I'll go tonight.
12. Pets? two dogs. Both of which are mostly annoying now that we have a child.
13. Favorite food? fruit, root beer floats
14. What was the last movie you watched? saved! (I know...a little late on that one, but I rarely get to the movies, even before Logan)
15. What do you do to vent anger? depends on the situation...cry or vent to Jason
16. What was your favorite toy as a child? the pool?
17. What is your favorite, spring summer winter or fall? I'm partial to all. I'm thinking my favorite is starting to be fall
18. Hugs or kisses? either
19. Cherries or Blueberries? both please
(I removed 20-22 because they had to do with email, and this isn't email)
23. What makes you laugh? Jason, my coworkers, Logan
24. When was the last time you cried? two nights ago watching intervention
25. What is on the floor of your closet? probably a shoe or two, Jason's bullets (not the guns), and his work stuff.
26. Who is the friend you've had the longest that you are sending this? Again, this isn't email...
27. What did you do last night? Spent time with Jason! WOOHOO!!! We played with Logan and ate yummy fish then watched Smallville
28. Favorite smells? Strawberries, Logan after the bath, I have this cranberry pomegranate spray that I love
29. What inspires you? Natural beauty
30. What are you afraid of? black ants
33. Number of keys on your key ring? 3 or 4 on one, 1 on the other
35. Favorite day of the week. I don't like picking favorites...what about Thursday...I get to spend time with Jason AND the next day is friday, so that works.
36. How many states have you lived in? 2

37. Favorite Holiday? Again... a favorite question. I do love Christmas.

38. Ever driven a Motorcycle or heavy machinery? Can you drive heavy machinery? I guess a forklift or something? I've driven my nephews motorcycle and ridden on my dad's Harley. When I was little we would ride ATC's and I drove that a couple times. I've never driven heavy machinery but have used lots of power tools.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Feminism and politics...

I just finished watching a documentary on feminism. I came across it on this channel called "Free Speech TV", which, in case you haven't come across, is a very liberal "alternative lifestyle" focused channel.

So why, as a conservative do I find myself watching a channel like that? Well, for start, I can't say I watch the channel regularly. A few minutes here and there each year. (Honestly, I have way too little time to spend watching tv). in any case, the reason I choose to watch shows like this and others is two-fold. One, I want to see what "the other side" is saying. I can't know that I disagree (or not) unless I know their position on issues. If a discussion comes up between me and someone else on the liberal side, I want to be able to state my beliefs in a way that I'm no broadsided by theirs. Its a preparation for apologetics so to speak. Two, in reality I believe there is some truth in both liberal and conservative ideologies, and neither has a monopoly on God's truth. I believe a "good Christian" has some liberal and some conservative ideologies.

For example...lets talk about poverty. Its a huge issue on the liberal agenda. Liberal Christians will argue that liberalism is the Christian-like thing to follow since it emphasizes loving others, particularly the poor, widowed, outcast, different, etc. Sounds like what Christ did right? How can you argue with that. Unfortunately the Conservative agenda doesn't do itself justice in this issue...I'd venture to say that very few Conservatives LIKE the idea of people going hungry and cold. The difference between liberal and conservative is not the issue but how to SOLVE the issue (at least in this case).

I've learned the same about the liberal vs. conservative agenda for abortion. There are very few women out there who want more abortions. (I'd say none, but I'm sure there are some exceptions). when liberals and conservatives come together on the issue of abortion they come at each other like apples to oranges. Liberals want choice...they want women to be able to decide what happens to their bodies rather than the government...they don't think its the governments right to say what happens to THEIR bodies. They believe that they should have the right to protect themselves from babies who use their body to grow against their will. And you know what (except for the last point)...I agree. I think its my decision (and my husbands and most importantly God's) about reproduction rather than the governments...if you look at it this way, conservatives (or at least me) would be furious if the government stepped in and said we COULDN'T reproduce...right? The conservative agenda says that it is wrong for someone to kill anyone, particularly an innocent child, born or unborn. They see a baby in the womb as a baby that is fully human and that it is the governments responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves (unborn babies) and therefore abortion should be illegal...really is pro-choice vs. anti choice and pro-abortion vs. anti-abortion...two different arguments (when we get this down we'll be more successful in winning the arguments for the pro-life movement, btw...).

Anyway, feminism is a similar issue. The documentary kept emphasizing the points that feminism is simply about the mission for men and women to be treated equally in society and/or providing enough information for someone to make a decision...doesn't matter what that decision is. (now, of course, the comments used in the documentary such as "I just can't understand why a feminist would be pro-life" kind of shows the truth about the liberal feminist agenda). The truth is that in general, "feminism" is great...women should not be beaten by their husbands and should be counted as people. There are few people who would disagree with that. its the finite details of the discussion about what makes a 'woman' that cause the differences in political activism for women's rights and prevent conservatives from joining the feminist movement in mass. I, being a conservative woman, believe that I should be able to stay home wiwth my child if that is my choice and not be labeled by "feminists" as stupid and dependant. I should be able to choose to love my husband and submit to him as I believe my God has asked me to without being called weak. I believe that as a woman (and women in general) have been created specifically for certain roles that men are just inferior to perform (uh...hello, breastfeeding?) and that when "feminists" fight to get "equal rights" they actually cause more difficulties for women. Not always, but sometimes. When we fail to accept the role we were born to fill (and I mean our individual role, not just "our role as women"), our life becomes much more difficult to live.

Again, I'm a working mom, by choice because I believe that God has called me to make a difference in the business world to influence women (and men) I meet. That being said, I have strong desires to stay home with my son and I strongly believe that if women weren't widely in the workforce then I wouldn't have a ministry in the workplace and would be able to stay home with my son and any other children we have in the future. What led to women in the workforce? the feminist movement. And not the movement defined above...but the radical movement that tried to force all women to be anti-men and anti-traditional role of women. Fighting for equal rights caused some women to be so passionate they went out and told other women that they were stupid and harming the plight of women by staying at home to raise their children. Rather than giving women the "option" to work outside the home, society has now become a place where, more often than not, women are forced to work outside the home just to pay the bills. If a family is less-wealthy because mom chooses to stay home, people begin to put pressure on the mom to go out and get a job to help pay the bills, which for the most part means "keep up with the joneses". Its sad.

Nevertheless, my point is that I couldn't deny that I am a feminist...at least according to the definition in the documentary. That being said, we have to consider that if the argument of feminism is purely to give all people equal opportunities, why is it called feminism? The "fem" in feminism insinuates it is focused on the plight of women...I am notout to get women equal to men...I want people to be equal, men or women. At least up to the point that the Bible says we are. The more we try to be people who we aren't or fill a role that by creation should be filled by men, the more we harm ourselves.

Anyway...ramblings...I'd like to know what you all think about feminism.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Blog Slacker

I'm such a blog slacker recently.

Really, I've had a lot to blog about when I'm NOT around a computer, but then when I get in front of one i can't think of one word to write.

I have started a collection of pictures for a new blog "Things you see in Texas". I'll let you know when I get that started. My intent is to show non-Texans some of the things I see that, as a native Californian, make me say hmmm... and also to show my Texan friends how some things are "different" to people not from Texas.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

All about my love...

I was tagged by Suzanne...all about J

1. Who is your man? Jason. Also known by J, Uncle J, J.T., and a few other cute names. The neighbor calls him something else that I won't repeat.
2. How long have you been together? 6 1/2 years, married for almost 5
3. How long did you date? 18 months
4. How old is your man? 29 for a few more months...or just a couple.
5. Who eats more? I would say Jason, because it would suck if the true answer was me. I don't really know. J eats more throughout the day and eats more junk food. I eat bigger portions at a few sittings.
6. Who said "I love you" first? Don't worry Suzanne...I don't remember this either. I don't even remember WHEN we said I love you first to each other, let alone who said it.
7. Who is taller? Jason.
8. Who sings better? Well, I think Jason sings great, but he won't do it in public. I, on the other hand, have sung publicly for years and can hold my own well.
9. Who is smarter? The common answer is me with book smarts and J with street smarts. I disagree about the street smarts though...I'm pretty street smart too, but I think his job gives him the edge....then it comes in common sense...I play dumb a lot but its just an act.
10. Whose temper is worse? Depends on the situation. I am usually pretty empathetic and always try to see things from the others' point of view, so I don't get upset when, say, someone cuts me off in traffic. But, I do have a (usually hormonally induced) mean streak that Jason is SO gracious to put up with.
11. Who does the laundry? Jason does a few loads here and there. He will generally help fold them too. But I do the majority of it. I usually won't carry it upstairs. He will...but he usually won't put it away once it gets there, so I do it. It all works out.
12. Who takes out the garbage? Mostly Jason, with the occasional help from me.
13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? Here's my overly analytical answer. If you are looking at the bed, standing at the foot of it, I sleep on the right side. If you are looking at the bed from the headboard (which we don't have), he does. Jason sleeps on my right side, if I'm sleeping on my back. If I'm sleeping on my stomach, he's on my left side. Got it?
14. Who pays the bills? Actually phsyically pays them? I do usually. We try to do it together, but seeing as how we have a whole 10 hours or so a week together, it isn't top on the priority list, and since he doesn't use the computer and we mostly do e-bill pay, it leaves it to me to get done. We both contribute to the account that pays the bills though.
15. Who is better with the computer? Me. Mostly because Jason no longer uses a computer. At all. Intentionally. By-choice.
16. Who mows the lawn? Our neighbor mows the front lawn. Jason does the backyard. I try to help sometimes, but since I'm so allergic to the bugs (particularly mosquitos), it makes it difficult for me to do.
17. Who cooks dinner? No one. Just kidding. I usually make my own dinner, and sometimes save him some leftovers. If we are home together we either make it together or we run out of time to make it together and have something out. Jason has recently picked up cooking as a hobby though and has tried several new recipes out and has done a MARVELOUS job.
18. Who drives when you are together? Usually Jason, unless for whatever reason he hasn't had much sleep. Then he'll ask me to drive. But, its a rare thing. Me and driving are no good (although I love to drive)
19. Who pays when you go out? Usually Jason, but really its whoever gets out the dough first.
20. Who is most stubborn? Probably me.
21. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? This is probably arguable. It would be Jason, but only because I usually don't "admit" when I'm wrong. Usually, I'll realize I'm wrong, change, and move on before I have the opportunity to "admit it". So, I usually don't say something like "I was wrong". But I will if I have to. Jason, is a little slower to come to the realization that he is wrong, but will definitely say the words faster than I will.
22. Whose parents do you see the most? Mine, no question.
23. Who kissed who first? We kissed each other? I always hate this question. Its as if one person didn't want to be involved, and in our case, we both wanted to kiss each other.
24. Who asked who out? He asked me.
25. Who proposed? He did and did a great job.
26. Who is more sensitive? I am absolutely.
27. has more friends?Without a doubt me.
28. Who has more siblings? It depends how you look at it. "naturally", I have a brother and a sister and he has two brothers. BUT, he also has a step-sister. BUT, I also have a cousin I count as a brother and several more that I would also counts as siblings. BUT, if you take spouses into consideration, he then has 4 on my side and I would have 5 on his side. So, I think he wins...but its close.
29. Who wears the pants in the family? Jason gets the final decision but we usually work on things together.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Logan's First Birthday

I can't believe that a year ago today, right about now (8:30ish am) I was checking into the hospital to give birth to our son Logan. My water had broke and only a couple minutes later strong, obviously labor-related contractions began. All at about 5:30 in the morning on Oct. 1st, 2006.

10 1/2 hours later our son was in our arms and on my chest, lifting up his head to see the world. What a beautful moment in our lives.

Becoming a mother is nothing like you could ever expect. Some have described it as the most difficult thing anyone could ever do. And in many ways it is. Some have described it as the most rewarding thing anyone could ever do. And in many ways it is. Usually, most people describe it as being both of those things at the very same time.

Jason and I have decided to write letters to Logan on each of his birthdays until he is 21, then give him the letters as a gift. So today, it is time to write the first of (hopefully) many that will go in that special box that now sits in his closet, and I wonder what I should write to him.

Telling him I love him won't nearly be enough. I've learned, in the only way we can, that a child cannot fully appreciate the love his/her parents have for him/her until after their own child is born. Telling him how much we have sacrificed for him doesn't seem to be very productive, even though we have (and are continuously willing) to give him everything we have. Do I tell him our hopes for him. That would be too short...all we want is for him to be all God created him to be. A daunting task as parents. Do I tell him about how happy I am that he is my son and how much joy he brings me as he smiles and runs to me and hugs my neck like he'll never let go or that I'm sad because as today comes it brings me one day closer to the day that we will proudly encourage him as he lets go to be on his own?

Ah. The everlasting conundrum of being a parent. I now understand why many parents feel the need to pressure child-free couples to try to have their own. (another issue entirely...but...) Parenting is an experience you can't fully appreciate until you are sitting with your own child on the curb of the street at the state fair, the day before his first birthday, as he watches the parade of lights go by, and you are able to see the awe and wonder on his face, the incomparable excitement and wow expressed in his eyes and mouth, knowing that from this day forward you have a hand in shaping this little life that has been entrusted to you.

Yes, that is the beauty of being a parent. At least Logan's parent. And we are up for the job whatever it takes.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What would you do?

I feel like I'm in a pickle, and maybe I'm making too much out of this. I don't really know what to do about the situation, except pray and ask for God's guidance. But I was wondering...if you were in this situation, what would you do?

This goes back 7 years ago when I started dating this loser...er...boy. Nice guy..."Christian"...very involved in the community, lots of friends...the typical popular guy. He not only went to my school (college) but was from my neck of the woods (since I went to private school that was rare) and was friends with my friends...thats actually how we met. Turned out we also went to the same church.

Anyway, shortly into the relationship it turned abusive. To protect others who've been abused or know abuse, I won't go into details here (but would be happy to share my story to anyone who asked or feels they need a shoulder to lean on!). In any case, I was trapped in the relationship, which is really weird since I'm such an independant type female...never felt like I "need" a man in my life (although I love my J!). They were dark days that I think I covered up well. (Not too well, during this time my dad accused me of being on drugs, which of course, I would have never been).

During our relationship he always talked about how he wanted to be a great evangelist. He wanted to work for the kingdom. It made me sick and I knew then that at some point he probably would be and I would be facing the situation I'm facing today. He is a "pastor", has earned a "ph.d.", and is claiming to minister to people in the inner city who have faced abuse and are stuck holding onto that abuse instead of getting over it and moving on with what God has for them.

I for one feel this is extremely ironic. I want to call him out for being a hypocrit (since he does and always has claimed to fight against the hypocrisy of the church). I want the world to know what he did to me and not have it be something he can deny any longer. And I know "I" am strong enough now (I wasn't then) to face the repercussions of making these accusations publicly against him.

But is it the right thing to do? Would it be fair to put my family through that? My husband and son do not deserve to be dragged into it. And I know he'd put up a fight, turn it around on me, etc. Furthermore, it has been 7 years. Maybe God has truly changed his heart. He is married now, maybe that has helped? I am positive my news would be shocking to her. Maybe he has dealt with his issues and for obvious reasons doesn't publicize that he has. We aren't in communication now so I wouldn't know the answers to these questions.

Maybe God is ready to use him to do great things in the life of others through him now. Who am I to stop the ministry of God through him (if it indeed is taking place). Reading his writings that promote his church and ministry, I would actually agree with what he writes and believe that he has powerful things to say...if only I didn't know him behind closed doors.

And the thing is...it doesn't seem like he's changed any of his basic beliefs. It doesn't seem like he's changed at all, other than the additional education, wife, and life experience he has had since then. Of course, this is from an outsider looking in from way, way afar. And I guess I'm a bit scared to move in closer at all to get a "better" view.

One thing about him...I've diagnosed him (cause i'm qualified right?) with NPD...narcississtic personality disorder. OMG...he fits this to a T. So, knowing that about him, I know the reality is that he probably hasn't changed, and he truly believes that everything was my fault, he is perfect. And because of that and his dynamic personality, people will believe him. No matter what I say, people won't believe that he could have done the things that he did...and he would never admit to it. It makes me sick now to see what he's doing. But why? Isn't it a good thing that he is working to save souls for our God's kingdom?

Such a dillemma... What would you all do?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A bedtime prayer...

Dear Jesus-
Thank you for my wonderful husband. Bless him and guide his steps. And make him a pirate. Amen.

Yes, this is what I prayed for Jason the other night. It is rare that Jason and I get to go to bed together, but when we do we make sure to pray together. Usually, our prayers are much more extensive than the one above, but as you can see, sometimes they get cut short.

Being tired, closing my eyes, and being quite, along with narcolepsy, are not good combinations when you are trying to pray.

Last night I was praying and asked for something about exercise.

We had a good laugh.

Every once in a while, now, after we pray, he ends the night with a good "Arrrr".

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Childbirth debate

I've mentioned before and I will continue to mention that I LOVED giving birth. Not the typical reaction to pushing a 7lb object through something much smaller, but really, it was one of the best experiences of my life.

And yet I hear of woman after woman, friend after friend, who did not have anything close to the experience I had. With very little exception, it started with "we went in for an induction", and then went from there.

I am EXTREMELY passionate about this subject, but am afraid to really write what I think. Why? Because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or make them feel bad. Childbirth is beautiful, no matter how it happens. The entrance of a child into this world is an amazing event. I also beleive that MOST mothers want to do what's best for their child and believe that the way they are having their child is best. A lot of what I believe boils down to preference for the natural that some people don't have. It's loosely defined as crunchy. (I'm sure I'll define that sometime).

For example...when I look at it if all else was equal...I'd MUCH rather have a natural (read: vaginal) birth than face the major surgery that is commonly referred to as a c-section. Some people, even when knowing the risks and danger associated with such surgeries, would rather have the convenience of it. (I fully realize that some c-sections are essential). I'd much rather have something least invasive, childbirth or not.

Now, I realize that all else is not always equal. Sometimes there are reasons that people NEED a c-section. There are certain situations that prevent a mother from giving birth vaginally. Unfortunately, women today are being told that a c-section is going to be likely necesary as soon as they are pregnant (or shortly thereafter), priming the mother to believe that she will need one before that decision can really be made. Then, as the time comes, the dr. can say "we've been discussing this all along and it seems we were right" and out comes the scalpel.

It seems to me (through my observations and discussions, and experience before the midpoint of my pregnancy) that women are just NOT educated fully on childbirth. But WAIT you say...I took a childbirth class! Yes, you probably did. But with few exceptions, childbirth classes, particularly those put on by hospitals, are designed to prepare the parents to do things the way the hospital wants you to do it to prevent litigation in the future. The more control they have over your birth the more they can say "they did what they could" and it was YOUR fault that things went wrong, if, God forbid something does go wrong. What isn't REALLY taken into consideration, or at least emphasized, is that childbirth has a design. Yes, it is difficult, and there are many theories as to why depending on your belief system. (Not the least of which is the mere physical difficulty in doing what needs to happen to get that baby out!). But childbirth has a way about it that is supposed to happen. The more you interfere with its design, the more complications you cause. This is just logically common sense.

Did you know that the average on-time delivery is after 41 weeks? (I believe it was 41 weeks 3 days, but don't quote me on that one). Wow! Its amazing to think then, that dr.'s start talking induction at 37 weeks. And it keeps getting earlier. There are a wide variety of reasons dr's claim to encourage the mother to induce...not the least of which is that the dr will be on vacation, as if, there is no other dr available that is qualified to catch the baby when it wants to come and instead we must yank it out before hand.

So here is what happens (and I've seen it over and over again in birth stories since I've been looking into the subject)...

Its time for induction (for whatever reason)...

This is done with pitocin (for the most part)...this leads to increased pain!

Pain leads to need for narcotics and/or epidural...this leads to decreased heart rate for mother & baby. Also leads to decreased strength to continue with labor. Typically slows down the process the moment it is administered. Labor Slows.

Labor is not progressing fast enough....we need to...break the water!

Breaking the water increases the labor pains. Does not necesarily increase the speed of delivery. Now the person has 24 hours, at the most, to deliver the baby before the hospital and dr demand to have a c-section due to the risk of a c-section. (Let's remember that we are doing an induction here, which means the baby hadn't started to come yet, which probably means that the baby was not quite ready to make the journey out).

The stress of the forced labor on the baby, along with the drugs, is now showing as 'fetal distress' on the monitoring. The babies heart rate is dropping, so they need to put in an internal monitor to make sure the baby is doing ok (did you know this is done by inserting a screw into the baby's scalp to hold the monitor in place?).

Due to all of this, checks are done frequently, which increases the risk of infection (due to germs being spread from hands/medical equipment inserted in the vagina). This is especially true since the bag of waters (aka...the water) has been ruptured (aka broken) and now the protective fluid that encapsulated the baby previously is no longer in place.

Labor is not progressing as rapidly as it should, and not nearly fast enough to prevent the hospital from being free and clear of litigation if you develop an infection (because, remember, they broke your water and increased the chance of infection). Therefore, it is time for c-section, where they cut through the skin, tissues, and muscles to get into the womb and pull out the baby. Because the baby doesn't go through the birth canal, he/she doesn't get the benefit of the natural suction process that clears the lungs, throat, and nose of fluid (if you haven't seen it, this is an extrememly neat process!).

Not only was the baby not quite ready to come out (or it would have started the process on its own, in the majority of cases), but it was also exposed to higher doses of narcotics and the epidural medicine than the mother (because it hadn't had a chnace to be filtered out by the kidney's yet...the meds are stuck in the babies body), so the baby is lethargic and slow to respond....the baby isn't doing "well" and is immediately take to the NICU or nursery for observations and care.

The mother, gets to see her baby as it is taken away, and now, instead of being able to hold her baby up to her chest (to start initial bonding, which has been shown to both help the mother heal and the baby adjust to the new world), now is faced with healing from a major surgery, unable to walk for at least 24 hours, most likely more, and has to deal with the emotional roller coaster not having her baby with her immediately. Additionally, she is super sleepy fromt he narcotics.

The process was described to me at one point by using the analogy of domino's. Once one is pushed, it leads to knocking down the next, which knocks down the next...in this order:

Continuous electronic fetal monitoring leads to:
inactivity: (the mother can't move around & it seems to show the baby isn't active) leading to:
increased anxiety leading to:
false positive monitor readings (signs of "distress", increased bp, increased heart rate) leading to:
slowed labor which leads to:
artificial rupture of membranes (breaking the water) leads to:
pitocin, since labor has to finish within 24 hours, which leads to:
increased pain, leading to:
medication & anesthesia, leading to:
abnormal fetal heart rate patterns, which leads to:
forceps/vacuum and/or c-section.

Is this process sometimes necesary? Yes. Is it always this way? No...the domino's don't always fall down all the way. Some women have had "fine" births when induced and/or with medications. And this is where I have to concede that there are choices that need to be made by each mother to determine what is best for her and her baby.

I just wish it was done from a fully educated point of view... that they knew that their doctors aren't necesarily telling them the whole truth or what is absolutely best for them (for goodness sake....many dr's now are taught to control the birth, not natural birth progression, so they are less comfortable with natural birth and therefore try to push the control as the "best way"). They also need to know what the procedures are actually doing to them and to their baby. Although it may be relatively safe, it isn't necesairly the "safest" for mom and baby, nor the healthiest.

I try to encourage every mother to REALLY do their research about birth. Women were made with the capability to give birth "naturally"....that is part of the awesome design of the woman!. I have added a few links to my list of links about birthing. Some are a bit opinionated and, well, straightforward, but look into what they have to say. At least maybe that point of view will encourage you to research for yourself the different procedures and options available for birth so you can truly make an educated decision on what your birth should be. Another option is to look up an online birth plan creation tool. Regardless of how you feel about having a birth plan, by looking up the tool it may help you see all the options that are out there, that some people choose, and then you can research for yourself why people choose certain things.

I also found a link to a post from the lactivist...I found this to be a good "middle of the road" opinion for those who want a hospital birth and who aren't necesarily against medication...good information...

Please don't think I'm judging your decisions to give birth the way you have decided. I think the last thing we need in this world is more mothers questioning whether they have made the right decisions ex-post-facto. I'm just trying to promote that there IS a different way.

As I've said before...even though I was in labor for 10 1/2 hours post water breaking (which = hard labor), 2 1/2 days total, I had no medication (other than 40 minutes total of IV with antibiotics for GBS), I was energized after having given birth (and I mean, immediately afterward...), I wasn't at all exhausted, I didn't have to recover from an episiotomy, just small surface skin tears, I was able to nurse my son for 90 minutes before they took him from me to do all his evaluations, I was able to spend one on one time with him within the first hour of his birth, I was able to immediately get up and go to the bathroom, I was able to eat as I pleased. I loved giving birth and can't wait to do it again.

Please let me know how I can help you get information about anything before, during, and after birth. I have a ton of resources (on both sides of the issue)....remember...to me its all about being educated.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pregnancy and Infertility.

Before I begin, let me assure you that if you are pregnant or would like to be and can conceive easily, I am THRILLED for you. Pregnancy is exciting and such a blessing.

So, we are now at the point of our life where people have started asking in numbers..."are you thinking of another", "when are you having another", "do you guys want more". We are also at the point where people who had babies around the same time we had Logan are now working on #2.

I love talking about our plans to be parents. But if I talk about it, I really want to talk about it. Unfortunately, usually people don't have (or don't take) the time to have the conversation necesary to understand our situation before making judgements. And maybe they don't make judgements. Maybe I just make assumptions that they are making judgements because I'm so sensitive to it. I feel like people judge us for not having another baby or trying to become pregnant already. I feel like people think we only want one baby. Or, then there is the other side that starts out the conversation: So, planning a few years between kiddos? That's smart.

Now, how am I supposed to correct their thinking? This is a very sensitive subject to me. We are not blessed with bountiful fertility. Not yet anyway (things can always change). So its sad for me when I see someone who gets pregnant easily and "when they want it". Its like they can decide one day to get pregnant and bam...they are. As a control freak who likes to plan things, the fact that I too can't do that is sad. (a reminder: happy for others, sad for me). At the same time, there are people out there who have infertility struggles that are much worse than ours. Although technically we count as "infertile", I would say we just have fertility challenges. It is possible for us. So I feel bad about complaining and feeling bad.

Of course, this is my flesh. I know that God's plan is better than my own and that is what I desire. I am also grateful for the blessing he has given me in Logan.

Anyway, I thought I'd clear a few things up, just for the sake of doing it.

Yes, we want to have more children. No, we aren't waiting a few years. Yes, we would like to be pregnant already. No, we are not yet pregnant.

I would like to have 5 kiddos. Jason would like to have 3. We both say we'll take it one at a time and see having children as a blessing from God, and something we both desire.

We want our kids to be 15-18 months apart (me) or 18-24 months apart (J).


I am not on birth control. We do not use any form of birth control. We have not used any form of bc for over two years. I do nurse, though, and have not yet had my cycle return. We plan on nursing for a while. At least for now, that means as long as I want to and Logan wants to. I don't see us nursing much past 18 months, but I am not putting a time frame on it. And, to clear even more things up, yes, there is a chance of us becoming pregnant *wink*.

So, although we have wanted to be pregnant already for several months, it hasn't happened. We also fully realize (at least now we do) that it will probably be at least several more months before we get pregnant. Just, please know, that we are leaving it open to God at this point...its not on our schedule. So, try to avoid the "why aren't you pg yet" or "don't you want more babies?" questions. I love to talk about it, but there are positive ways to phrase things so that it doesn't stick a knife in the wound. Also, I love to share in the excitement when I hear of (insert name of friend)'s pregnancy. And I try very much not to let my pain show. But if I do (and I think I've gotten much better), please forgive me! I am extremely happy for you and DO want to hear about it.

And I leave with a positive thing about fertility issues...at least ours...I can feel free not to be on bc or have to worry about bc (at least for now), because God is naturally spacing out kiddos out within a happy range and we don't have to worry about it. There is something freeing in our marriage and family because of that. Praise God for the opportunity to learn to rely on him more.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I've been tagged...

The Rules:
1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules. (**if you’re a non-blogger, you can email them!)
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. I hate chocolate. Really. I do. Unless, of course, I can be a discriminating chocolate fan and only enjoy the white variety. Which, of course, sounds bad. and was probably a bad joke. So bad that I'm going to erase it... or not, because I promised I wouldn't do that. But, any kind of brown chocolate is nasty to me. Occasionally I'll tolerate it because I want whats inside (like a twix, but only in the bite size variety). Occasionally I'll take off the chocolate covering to eat what's inside (like with a reese's), and, the rest of the time, I'll avoid it like the plague.

2. I don't have very many green clothes. It's not that I don't like the color, but I tend to buy a lot of red and pink. I do have a green shirt with a bleach stain, a green t-shirt that has bert and ernie with "what's cookin" on it, and a pair of green cargo pants. I used to have another green shirt, but my sister stole it from me.

3. I am the worlds biggest clutz. I was extremely excited when I found out that there is a gene that some people are missing that makes them stop and think a millisecond before doing something. This typically prevents people from doing things like falling down the shuttle bus stairs and breaking a toe, breaking a pinky while swimming, getting hit by a boat, and ending up with over 50 stitches in their face before they are 3 years old (all of these things, by the way, are separate events that have happened to me...and I could as you can imagine, go on and on). I don't know if I'm missing that gene or not, but I'm going to pretend like I'm not. For some reason its easier to accept that I'm missing some elusive gene than to accept that I am just clumsy.

4. I LOVED giving birth and can't wait to do it again.

5. My affectionate nickname from my siblings and other close relatives was "murphbutt". Despite the obvious denotation of the nickname, it actually somehow derived from a conversation about Eddie Murphy, and I don't remember all how exactly, just that it shouldn't be taken as a literal translation.

6. I crochet but do not knit. Actually, I do try to knit but haven't been successful so far. And of course, I do not give up, so one day I will master this elusive art. But, for now, baby blankets will be of the crochet variety.

7. I am very insecure about myself. I am also very secure about myself. All at the same time. Its funny how that works. I know who I am in Christ and fear only Him. Then again, I get afraid to make a phone call to someone because I'm afraid they won't know who I am and that would embarrass me. Go figure.

8. Although we aren't there yet, the J-ster and I intend to live debt free. This will take (and has taken) some work on our part, but we are plugging away. This includes all debt, including mortgage free...if you are interested in something like this check out Dave Ramsey. He's got a lot of good info and makes it simple enough to figure out.

Ok! Your turn:

1. Amelia
2. Kathy
3. Kattie
4. Tricia
5. Stephanie
6. Mandi
7. Amanda
8. Kristen

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The results are in...

And they have been for a while, I just haven't had a chance to post.

So, for the short version. Nevermind. If I tell you the short version I think it would ruin the long version :)

So, on August 6th we had the city council meeting to discuss the issue of replacing the stop signs.

a little background...
Our city (and really, the city council) decided they were going to take down 3 stop signs on the major road through our community. They want our road to go faster so that more people will take that road rather than another, nearby neighborhood road. They claim this is safer for the community at large, since cars won't go too fast down smaller roads. As with all political issues, this one is spurred by several people, all with more or less hidden agendas. We heard about the agendas and realized we actually have an opportunity to get involved and do something about it, rather than sit back and watch as a decision is made that would cause harm to the kids that live in our neighborhood (which, by the way, is the largest development in the city).

No one I have mentioned this to seems to think this is a good idea, with the exception of the city council and two neighborhood residents. From what we could tell and from previous discussions at city council meetings, all city council members were in favor of removing the stop signs and to this point would not listen to our concerns about removing them. In this argument, we really were the underdog with no power against the big bad city council.

We needed to get the issue on the agenda by 6pm, Friday the 4th. If not, we wouldn't have the opportunity to present our position (state law), and the stop signs would be taken out on the 7th. If they were taken out, they would be much more difficult to be replaced later, at least until a kid was killed. So, we got together and slammed the city council with emails and phone calls demanding to be on the agenda on Monday.

It worked. On Friday at about 4:30pm the agenda was posted with our issue.

So, I spent the weekend agonizing over what would happen on Monday the 6th. I had a hard time sleeping (which, as you know, is highly unusual). I spent my time organizing information to present before the council. I talked a lot with neighbors and family ensuring I had their support. We walked the neighborhood getting signatures on the petition we had.

On the 6th there was first a workshop, where the city council intends to work with each other to brainstorm and gather information. then, there was the city council meeting. We were scheduled last on the agenda, which meant we would probably not get the floor until about 10pm. We urged the residents to attend both meetings and prepare for a long night.

During the workshop the city council discussed with the attorney and the city engineer about technical terms regarding who has the right to make the stop signs legal, are they currently legal, what should be done about their legality, and how safe was the road. We ran out of time before all of the questions were answered, so the rest were tabled until the city council meeting agenda.

The city council started at 7:30pm. Several agenda items were addressed before one councilman moved to move our agenda item earlier in the meeting. Thankfully, we had a good show of support in the room, standing room only, and the council voted to move the agenda item up in the agenda. Everyone had 3 minutes to speak, if they wished.

The discussion began with the HOA president presenting 386 petitions from residents to the city council. Then, if I remember correctly, one other person got up to speak. Then it was my turn. I asked the audience not to cheer or boo until I was done. I had five pages of information to get through in my 3 minutes, then I would have to give my presentation to others. So, I spoke as fast as I could while still being clear (I tend to stutter some) and passionate. When I had 1 minute left the mayor gave me a warning. I still had 3 1/2 pages left. So I tried to quickly run through the rest of my argument before my time was up. Everyone cheered for me and thanked me as I finished.

My sister came up next and I pointed to where I left off on my notes so she could hopefully continue. As I walked to sit down, I heard her ask the city council if she could donate her time to me. To my surprise, they asked for any objections (there were none) and then voted for me to continue. 3 MORE MINUTES!!!

As I walked back up to the podium (where, by the way, you have to follow formal rules and such, its so strange), the audience behind me were cheering and telling me "continue! we'll give you all the time you need". I suddenly knew I had the support of the audience. I felt like the football pplayer who just caught the football and was running full speed toward the end zone with no one else in sight. I continued with my arguments until, once again, I got the 1 minute warning from the mayor.

Another neighbor stood up and offered to give me their time, and again, we went through the approval process and I was allowed to continue. Picking up more speed, like a snowball rolling down a hill.

This happened a total of 4 times so that I could get done with all of my notes. The last time I turned around and asked the audience "is anyone else willing to give me their time? I only have 1/2 page left". Sure enough, people were willing.

As I walked away from the podium for the last time the room was so apreciative. I was humbled in how I could be used to present information as a representative of my neighbors. I was grateful that they trusted me enough to donate their own speaking time and were willing to do so. Wow. Thinking back I'm still in awe.

I walked away near tears. Not because of the issue, although no one can argue that it is an emotionless issue, but because of the affect my words obviously had on the crowd and that I was chosen to be able to do this. I was overwhelmed with the responsibility I was granted and the favor I was shown.

On a side note...I truly believe that God creates us with purpose. I believe He uses everything for good for those that love him. I believe that extends to every person, situation, and circumstance in our life so that we are perfectly prepared to be what God wants us to be when he needs us. We have the choice to recognize God's will and follow it, but he gives us what we need. In this case, I truly believe that God gave me the ability to research and prepare a presentation (in about an hour) that would fall on ears that were previously "closed" and that he granted me favor so that I could have the opportunity to do what I did. It has nothing to me and everything to do with Him. To God be the glory!

There were several others who spoke. All were passionate and expressed some valid points. No one got up to support removing the stop signs. No one.

I was feeling pretty good. Until the city council started speaking and sharing. 3 council members spoke before taking a vote. The first said (essentially) that although he supported postponing the signs now, ultimately, he feels we all need to accept change as our city grows and this is one way the city needs to grow. He supports the good for the city as a whole and can't give us special treatment. The second spoke up and said that he was portrayed in a bad light, and that he does really care about our kids. However, months ago he stood up and fought for the safety of our kids and heard from "us" that we wanted the city to have business. If we want business, that street needs to be a faster moving street. And he listened to us and supported us. Now that he has taken action to remove the signs we are fighting to keep the signs and attacking him. So, he says we need to figure out what we want. The third said this is not just a speed issue...its a people issue.

Then they spent 30 minutes (no joke) following the rules to make a motion, ammend it, get a second, ammend it again, make a motion, talk to the lawyer, then make a motion. Literally, I was hunched over biting my nails. Then they decided it was time to take a vote.

The motion was made to make the stop signs legal, keep them up pending a study, and to seek a study that would look at the safety and traffic in our area and one other in the city. (btw, they're spending 30 million on roads and hadn't done ONE safety study and had only done one limited traffic study in the last 5 years)

We all stared at the electronic board on the wall, waiting for them to flip the switch so we could all see the councils vote.

The room was silent.

Personally, I felt it was close. I was hoping for 4 out of 7, but didn't think it was likely. I knew for sure at least one would vote against us.

We waited.

Suddenly the lights on the board were turned on. ALL GREEN! the motion carried with a UNANIMOUS vote! We were shocked. We all stood up, cheering and applauding. It was a great moment in my life.

I felt like the person who just threw the last pitch of a no hitter game that ended the world series, and my team, the underdog, just won. I felt like everyone put me on their shoulder and was carrying me around as their hero. Everyone came up to me to tell me how well I did and thanked me. Half of the city council members came up to me and told me how well I did. They thought I was a lawyer. They asked me to run for city council. The mayor gave me his phone number.

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this life. If I didn't work, I think I might just run for city council. I was energized by the ability to use my gifts and talents for something great. I'm completely humbled and in awe of our God.

The fight isn't over. We still have to make sure they do what they said they would and fight to keep our stop signs long-term. But we are on a roll now.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Save our kids!!!

I am currently on a mission to save the stop sign that is on the main road that crosses our street. The kids use the crosswalk there to get to school.

Anywho, the Sachse city council has decided that the stop signs encourage people to drive on other roadways and doing so places people in those areas in danger. To encourage people to stay off the other roads they have decided to take down 3 sets of stop signs (one being ours) on Tuesday, August 7th.

Please pray that we can convince them NOT to do this. It puts all of our kids in danger and us as well.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My first blog (here anyway)

Hello and welcome to my blog :)

This isn't my first post (and certainly isn't my first blog). I have two others going on...one on myspace and one for updates on the baby. This is also not my first blog on blogger.

But wait!...you say...you don't see any other blog's here? No, no... of course not. Here's a little insight into me. I'm extremely analytical. I have written a couple of entries before and for one reason or another have deleted them. From here on out I will try not to do that. Why? Well, for starters, no one has been invited to this link yet so I doubt that I will offend anyone with my posts :) Also, I keep having the desire to blog here and haven't done so because the topic just wouldn't work for my first blog here.

Anywhoo...I do have something to blog about. And I think I can even keep it upbeat!

So, for those of you who know me you may know I have had difficulties moving on with my life now that we live in Texas. Well, not really, I have "moved on" per se, but the emotional ties to our "previous life" are still so binding. This is partially caused by the great memories we have of life in California (or, more appropriately, life nearby our family and friends). It is also partially caused by a bit of longing to be a part of that life again. Neither is bad, except as in my case it has caused me to hold a grudge against a few people (not something I like to do!) and when it prevents me from growing strong roots where we are planted now.

We just got back from a trip to California. And, as usual, it was fun to see people and spend time "back home". Our family went out of their way to make it a fun trip and show us how much they miss us and love us. Even still, I realized that we are just not part of their everyday life anymore (not all of them of course...this is mostly about friends rather than family). As our life continues in Texas, our thoughts of them remain the same despite the fact that their life continues to grow and move in California too. So when we visit, we sometimes feel like the fifth wheel in terms of not understanding or being involved in many of the conversations that occur, since they have to do with what everyone else is doing on a daily basis that we just aren't a part of. No fault, no blame, it just is. I fear that writing this down will make someone feel bad if I ever give them access to this site...I don't want anyone to think of this as a guilt trip or that we aren't happy with the way things are or that we blame anyone or that if they "tried harder" we wouldn't feel this way...we are just realizing that life is not going to be the same now that we live in Texas. (Duh, we have lived here for just shy of 3 years, you think we'd realize that already).

As I came back home (Texas), I reflected on the trip. There was such mixed feelings to get through. On one hand there was a strong desire to be a part of things (daily) again. Such a strong desire for our son to grow up near all of his family (although we are grateful to have more and more nearby now!). Such a strong desire to be leaders in the church back home like we used to be. On the other hand (and this surprised me), I missed home. I missed our friends. I kept wondering how so and so was, how another person was feeling, what they were doing, wanting to share Logan's newest trick with them. Everyone has had that desire to be back home I'm sure (you know..the desire to sleepin your own bed type thing) (Not that our bed wasn't comfy...thanks Mom & Dad!). But this was more than that. I realized that I'm happy to have the life we have out here. And that is ok.

The ultimate conclusion is that I need to complete the mourning for relationships lost or "changed". I am ready to "accept the things I cannot change" being that we are out here now. This frees me up to look at those relationships in a different light...not as something we are missing out on or not a part of but as an opportunity to let some go and re-establish some with new terms, and we can set those up now! It also frees me to build real relationships with the people we know (and will know) here. Its as if I've limited the relationships I've had here because I'm afraid having htem would make people back home feel as if they weren't important to us. This of course isn't true, but they've gone on with their lives now that we aren't there, why can't we go on with our lives out here? And there are great people out here. Great friends, coworkers, neighbors.

So I leave this blog with two things. One for those back home, and one for those in our new home...

Back Home: (can best be said by the lyrics to a song by Audio Adrenaline)..."You'll be fine tomorrow, the sun will rise again. It's never easy to say goodbye. You know I'll always love you, You know I always will. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, my old friend(s). Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, we've reached the end. I don't cry for sorrow, I cry with joy. The memories we've made can't be destroyed. You know I won't forget you, You know I never could. And when I say I loved you, You know I meant for good."

New Home: Watch out! I'm coming to make friends with you :)